Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arabella l'angelo nero (1987)

... aka: Angela, the Black Angel
... aka: Angel: Black Angel
... aka: Arabella: Black Angel
... aka: Arabella, the Black Angel
... aka: Black Angel, The

Directed by:
"Max Steel" (Stelvio Massi)

What a huge piece of trash this is! Since she's not getting any at home, reckless nymphomaniac Deborah Veronese (Tinì Cansino) sucks down some liquor ("Mmm... Tasty!") and heads on over to the local sex club for some action. The red-lit club - called "The Infernal Regions" (!) - is located in some old castle and has an eyepatch-wearing, accordian-playing drag queen who tells people "pay for your sins" before they can enter the door. Inside, all kinds of sleazy and kinky things are going on. There's a threesome on the stairwell, two men wrestling in their leather underwear in one room and a woman using a strap-on on some guy in another room. Deborah seems to be enjoying watching until two guys show up to slap her around and pull a knife on her. A photographer / blackmailer has trailed Deborah there and taken some incriminating pictures. Then a bunch of police show up to raid the place. Just when things can't get any worse for Deborah, one of the cops decides to let her go... after he bends her over her car and rapes her! Afterward, she calls him a "bastard" and forgets to grab her purse, which she'd dropped on the ground. Just a regular night out on the town, I'd say.





The next day, we learn a little about Deborah's miserable home life. She's rich (hence, the blackmailer) and married to Frank (Francesco Casale), a bitter, wheelchair-bound best-selling novelist who is past deadline on his latest book and is always screaming at her. So how did he end up in the chair? Because on their wedding day, Deborah went down on him while he was driving and he had a head-on collision with a van! Alfonso (Carlo Mucari), the vice cop who raped her, shows up at her home with her purse and then attempts to extort money. But first he wants sex... and he wants it right there and now. Because her husband and mother-in-law Marta (genre vet "Evelyn Stewart" / Ida Galli) are inside, Deborah takes him around back to the utility shed. He says "Last night I found you in hell. Today you're coming along with me, and we're going to heaven together!" The two start going at it, but when Deborah notices that her husband is watching, she clubs the guy over the head with a hammer. They bury the body in the back yard and she confesses she has been "an angel during the day, a filthy, degraded woman by night." He promises to stand by her no matter what and even encourages her to go out and take other lovers so he'll have inspiration for his latest novel "The Black Angel."





Someone's not too happy about their little arrangement, though. A scissor-wielding psycho is going around gutting and then castrating men. First up is the photographer who took the incriminating photos of Deborah at the sex club. And then a cowboy Deborah took to a hotel for a one night stand. Lesbian detective Gina Fowler (Valentina Visconti) is on the case. At the crime scene with a bloody body stretched out on a bed, a cop eating a sandwich informs her "There's a lot of blood around cause they cut off the guy's dong. I mean, his penis. His male organ. His member, ya know? Including balls. Testicles. Testicle!" Gina excuses herself to the bathroom (do cops really use bathrooms at crime scenes?) and envisions blood pouring out of the faucet. On the front page of the newspaper there's a picture of the castrated dead cowboy for everyone to see. A little concerned her latest lover has been murdered, Deborah figures she should cool it for a bit, but her husband encourages her to "carry on" her random love affairs instead.





Gina confesses to her lover Agnese (Rena Niehaus) that a similar crime happened in her family years earlier. Agnese betrays Gina by running to the papers with the story in order to get money and advance her own career. Because it is now considered too personal, Gina is promptly thrown off the case. Agnese intercepts a call and agrees to meet the killer alone at night at a park (!) and finds herself getting her throat cut and then stabbed in the vag. Because the two had been in a fight earlier ("You filthy old bull dyke!"), an APB is put out for Gina's arrest. Meanwhile, Deborah heads out for another little adventure, this time going to the "Freak Boy Zone" and picking up a bisexual male hustler in one of the most hilarious outfits ever (see below). Several absurd plot twists follow as the identity of the killer(s) is unveiled.





Filled with full-frontal nudity and sex, laughable porno-level dialogue ("Come on, show off your body! Be proud of it! Excite me!"), terrible acting, atrocious English-language dubbing, shots of wienerless corpses, scissor blades poking into boobs and plenty of other moments in questionable taste filtered through a gloosy, tacky late 80s aesthetic, this is going to appeal much to fans of ridiculous sleaze. I wasn't bored. It has never been officially released in America. Some of the bootleg prints floating around are the Japanese version, which has all of the below-the-waist nudity fogged out.

1/2  SBIG

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? (1970)

... aka: Does Dracula Really Suck?
... aka: Dracula and the Boys
... aka: Draculas lusterne vampiro
... aka: Dracula, vampire sexuel
... aka: Orgia del vampiro, L'

Directed by:
Laurence Merrick

I'm not sure what happened to Count Dracula, but sitting through the pea-brained horrors of Count Adrian and Count Alucard tonight about made Count Justin drive a stake into his own heart to end his misery. Guy (John Landon) brings his girlfriend Angelica (Claudia Barron) to Dracula's Dungeon, a dreary nightclub and restaurant full of freaks and weirdos. Despite getting a Zombie on the house (woot!), Angelica has a bad feeling about the place and immediately wants to go home. Too bad the damage has already been done. Bloodsucker Count Adrian (Des Roberts), who has grown sick of his current whiny lover, has already spotted her and likes what he sees. Later that night, Adrian decides to pay a nocturnal visit to Angelica at her home. He hypnotizes her and drinks from her. The next day she can't remember anything. Suffering from bouts of dizziness and feeling light-headed, Angelica decides to consult her physician, Dr. Harris (Robert Branche). She discovers she's not only short a few pints, but also has some sort of "foreign element" in her bloodstream. Doc tells her not to worry about it and says the strange puncture wounds on her neck are probably from her "passionate boyfriend." Guess What Happened to Dr. Harris? Your answer should include the words "malpractice" and "suit."




Angelica snuggles down by the fire with a copy of "Vampir: Legend & Fact" just as her drunk friend Sharon (Sheri Jackson) comes by with some people to party. They throw on some music and start drinking, then Angelica is introduced to a suave European count by the name of - you guessed it! - Adrian. Sharon thinks he's "groovy," but when Angelica discovers he's from Transylvania she asks him if he's a Communist (!) When she offers him a beer, he declines because he only drinks blood. Uh, I mean, Bloody Mary's. Har har har. Having gotten to know him so well during their two minute conversation, Angelica takes him to her bedroom and lets him hypnotize her because she has a headache. Adrian assures her he won't molest her while she's out because he's not into necrophilia. Not weirded out by any of this, Angelica invites him over for a thick, juicy steak dinner the following night. Adrian stops by for a thick, juicy neck nibble first. When Angelica wakes, she finds herself avoiding the sunlight and feasting on raw meat.




Guy stops by and notices her weird behavior and pale appearance. Her aversion to his cross really gets him thinking, so he goes to Dr. Harris for help. Harris believes she is somehow letting her Vampir book go to her head, while Guy thinks she might be under a vampire's spell. The two go to her place but by the time they arrive Angelica has already been whisked away to Dracula's Dungeon by the love-struck Count. There, a Brazilian voodoo ritual basically amounting to a woman doing a lengthy dance with a python, a man eating a live lizard to prove his virility and people yelling "Macumba!" over and over again, is taking place. And for some reason there's also a... uh... gorilla in a cage. And a... um... tiger wandering around all over the place. Will Count Adrian put the third and final bite to Angelica, transforming her into a vampire for all eternity? Can Guy and Dr. Harris get there in time to save her? Will the tiger get sick and tired of the cast slowly creeping around it while it's trying to eat and maul someone? I guess you'll just have to watch Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? to find out.





This isn't the absolute worst thing you'll ever see, but I do have to wonder what kind of audience they had in mind when they made this. On the plus side, it's surprisingly stylishly lit, very colorful and not horribly photographed. On the down side, the acting's not very good, it doesn't bring much new to the table storywise and there are lots of glaring continuity issues. I still couldn't figure out why Angelica started calling the vampire "Alucard" during the last few minutes. The guy playing the vampire acts awfully goofy throughout but the film can't seen to make up its mind whether it wants to be a send-up or taken seriously. If it wanted to do both, it doesn't quite pull either off. Strangest of all, there's no gore, no profanity and - biggest shocker - no nudity. Lacking all of those key ingredients for a low-budget vampire film would have kept this out of many drive-ins at the time and yet it's not family friendly enough to be a kid's movie either. I really have no clue what they were shooting for here. However, this very mild, non-exploitative cut wasn't the only one released; just the only cut that is currently available.




In Europe, Guess? actually was released as a sex film with a new director listed (Mario d'Alcala). New nude and sex inserts were added for releases in France, Italy, Switzerland and West Germany. Some of the titles translate to Dracula, vampire sexuel, ("Dracula, Sexual Vampire"), L'orgia del vampiro ("The Orgy of the Vampire") and Draculas lusterne vampiro ("Dracula's Lustful Vampire"). The film may have also been released with hardcore sex inserts added for both foreign and domestic distribution. A version called Does Dracula Really Suck? supposedly contains hardcore straight sex, while a version called Dracula and the Boys had gay hardcore sex added. I have been unable to verify those claims and no prints of either of these alternate versions have surfaced.




Angela Carnon (from the fairly well-known hardcore horror A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER) shows up as a nurse for a lame double entendre joke, but the rest of the cast is virtually unknown. Something Weird paired this up with DRACULA (THE DIRTY OLD MAN) (1969), which is even worse despite copious amounts of nudity, for the DVD release.

1/2
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